December is always a brilliant time of year to take stock and make sure your business is having a positive impact people, places and planet. As we get stuck into the festive season and congratulate our 2018 members for completing this year’s programme, we wanted to celebrate some of their achievements in their responsible business journeys!
“Looking outwards at the needs of our local communities is one of our core values and 2018 has been a watershed year for us in ensuring we live up to this pledge. We’ve made efforts over the last three years to actively engage with our team to encourage them to take our volunteering offer up. At the start of 2018 our CEO set the ambitious target that all staff use their volunteering days. Through concerted communication efforts and the development of strategic partnerships with HotC and Benefacto we are heading toward exceeding 60% take up this year – a tenfold increase from three years ago!” Carl Brooks, MJ Mapp
“We’ve developed our first charity partnership with Generating Genius and have appointed in-house sustainability champions. To our great surprise, we achieved a ranking of 6th in the SME category in the GivX awards this year. It’s without any doubt that the HotC team and our fellow members helped us facilitate this achievement and it is with great excitement that we look towards 2019 and the impact we can make. As our Sustainability in Communities Champion says “small businesses don’t have to only do small things”” Steph Wicken, Wilson & Partners
“We’d been working with a charity partner, Drive Forward Foundation, for a couple of years, offering volunteering hours and a few work experience opportunities. HotC helped us to put together a robust CSR strategy for the year, which then gave us the confidence to step up our efforts with the charity and hold a fundraiser with all our clients and candidates. We not only hit our financial target, but the evening got the entire team to buy into our CSR efforts, where we had previously struggled to get focus.” Donna Knott, Pod Talent
“2018 marks 10 years since we began monitoring carbon footprints. Far from being a banal, box ticking exercise, measuring carbon emissions challenges us to make positive change, and sometimes serves as a real wake-up call! After the 2012 move to our self-designed, efficient, retrofitted building, we enjoyed a steep drop in the size of our carbon footprint. However, since then we’ve seen small rises, due to an increased number of people using our building. This shows we cannot rest on our laurels; we need to do more to consume less! This has reawakened a discussion about a cost-benefit analysis of generating more of our own energy on site – so, hopefully, our next exciting step awaits in 2019!” Sahiba Chadha,Cullinan Studios
“In a bid to take a step back from the rat race and raise awareness about our carbon footprints, we devised a Green Week to provide insights into easy, office-friendly sustainable changes and techniques. We increased our recycling efforts, encouraged people to take the stairs and tried to avoid single use plastics at lunch. Our environmental cogs are turning. We’ve switched to glass water bottles, have started a Cycle to Work scheme and receive Fruitful Office fruit baskets. We’re aware that there is still a lot we can do to be more sustainable as a company, and we’re optimistic that in time we’ll reach our goals.” Johanna Bernhard, Haggie Partners
“Nathan, a partner, and I, a trainee solicitor have worked together throughout 2018 on the HotC foundation programme. Working together means we’ve been able to bounce ideas off each other as well as other organisations on the programme. Feeling like we’re doing something to make a difference is motivating and has had a positive impact on our working lives. This year we’ve eliminated plastic cups from our staff kitchen, raised funds for causes including the London Legal Walk, and our now regular First Thirsty Thursday drinks, enhance morale and team spirit. We’re looking forward to continuing our CSR journey with HotC in 2019.” Lizzy Andrews, Beale & Co
“We have primarily focused on staff wellbeing for our programme this year. We have a new wellbeing champion who has grasped the subject with gusto, arranging regular massages and yoga for staff. We also have five fully trained mental health first aiders – now we’re working out how to use our new skills to benefit the organisation. Today we’re holding two sleep workshops to help as many people as possible get the best sleep they can.” Joanna Heneker, Architas
“Having identified what being a responsible business means to us we decided to focus on employee wellbeing. We celebrated Mental Health Awareness Week by having a ‘coffee, cake and chat’ fundraising event. One of our directors offered to talk about his experience of PTSD and consequently a few colleagues contacted him to share their experiences and concerns. More recently we invited the Suzy Lamplugh Trust to speak to staff about personal staff and lone working.” Suzanne Joseph, Indigo Planning
“We’ve introduced private medical insurance for staff, which provides additional wellbeing benefits. Employee rewards are linked to healthy choices, meaning staff are out walking and taking part in other forms of exercise to build up their step count; steps mean rewards! We also decided to bring a health practitioner on site for a day to give members additional points on their plan to get them up and running. We’ve now got staff competing in weekly step challenges and have generally created a healthier culture at work.” Claire Bloomer, CIPR
We’ve had lots of award winners among our members this year. From Beck Greener and David Miller Architects winning Dragon Awards, to David Mann from TFT Consulting winning in the EG Awards for co-founding the first support network for LGBT real estate professionals and David Miller Architects again for winning a Westminster Lion Award, congratulations to all our 2018 members for working hard to be a force for good!
“Having our work placement initiative win awards is fantastic news for us because creating a more inclusive and diverse profession is something that we feel very strongly about. By opening our doors to young people who may not otherwise have had access to careers in the construction industry, we are widening the talent pool and addressing skills gaps in an industry that desperately needs the capability that the younger generation of “digital natives” can provide.” Fiona Clark, David Miller Architects